Medici Family Treasures
The famous Italian family of aristocrats and politicians, who became legendary not only in their homeland, but throughout the world, left behind a considerable inheritance. In particular, many of the Medici were obsessed with collecting and understood a lot about elegant objects – paintings, utensils and jewelry. The latter will be discussed.
Little remained after the Medici clan died out: they sold something, plundered something, took it for debts or simply hid it from the eyes of the world in private collections. And the more valuable it becomes every golden item associated with a legendary surname.
One of the main treasures of the collection is a gemma pendant with the image of Girolamo Savonarola, the main enemy of the Medici family. It is made of carnelian and set in blackened silver. Pierrot Medici, nicknamed Gout, was collecting a collection of gems – examining them, he began to feel weaker pain in the joints. But, of course, the Medici collection also included gems depicting members of the genus. For example, a cameo on a sink called “Portrait of Cosimo Medici” encrusted with silver and gold, or an agate cameo in a gold frame “Portrait of Lorenzo the Magnificent” by Medici, now stored in the Palazzo Pitti in Florence.
Gold, precious stones and enamel are the three most important components for a bright and luxurious decoration of the Renaissance, the times of the Medici family. Among these jewelry, one cannot fail to note a brooch with a noble figure made of gold, enameled, inlaid with sapphires, diamonds, rubies and emeralds. An old cameo depicting Hermaphrodite lying surrounded by three Eros in the bosom of nature is just as richly decorated with jewelry masterpieces. It is also set in gold and trimmed with precious stones of the highest quality and pure water. And another cameo pendant made of both chalcedony and gold depicts the head of the Gorgon Medusa.
Pearls were one of the main passions of women in a noble house, in particular, Queen Catherine de Medici. A dragon brooch is known, decorated with a large baroque pearl of irregular shape, which serves as the body of the dragon. Also known are the Triton pendant, which has a torso, arms and face made of pearls, and the Gondola pendant, where a pair of elegant gold gondoliers, decorated with colored enamel, small pearls, rubies, emeralds and diamonds, are placed on an oblong pearl. But the most famous decoration with a baroque pearl among the Medici treasures is a large gold pendant, where a huge baroque pearl appears before us in the form of a baby, covered with a blanket, sleeping in a golden patterned cradle. He was a silent wish for health and fertility for noble ladies of the clan.
The most expensive item from the Medici treasures today is the Beau Sancy pear-shaped diamond, which was sold at Sotheby’s auction on May 25, 2012. He adorned the crown of Marie de Medici during the coronation in 1610, and afterwards was transferred to the royal dynasty, having visited the crowns of many rulers of Great Britain.
In many museums in Europe today you can find fragments of what once was one of the greatest advantages of the Medici family – fragments of unimaginable wealth, exciting minds, sophisticated, amazing even now, when you can’t put it all together, in one treasury, as in those days when everyone in Europe knew who the Medici were.